It would seem so. Gladys Knight agreed to sing the National Anthem at the Soper Bowl, and is getting criticized. Why? “The legendary singer is being criticized for agreeing to take the gig in light of some fans boycotting the National Football League over its treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.”
One of the thinks that makes the NAPETR so mind-numbingly stupid is that the point of the pointless protest keeps changing, because the protesters just want to protest. Kaepernick, when he was a back-up quarterback of fading skills, claimed he was kneeling during the national anthem to protest “bodies in the streets” and “ people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” That was inarticulate, and also vague Black Lives Matter propaganda paired with a direct assault on the anthem, since he began by saying that the U.S. flag didn’t deserve his respect. Then other players began kneeling in “solidarity,” but claiming that the protest during the anthem had nothing to do with the anthem. When they were all justly criticized for bringing (incoherent, half-baked, virtue-signaling racial) politics into football games, the said they were protesting to exercise their First Amendment Rights. (There is no right for employees to protest in the workplace), Then when President Trump attacked the protesters and the NFL teams for putting up with them, the kneeling was explained (by some) as a protest against President Trump, a nice safe default these days. Now the kneeling is partially justified as a protest against no NFL team hiring a mediocre quarterback whose grandstanding created a huge public relations problem for the league and who cost it many millions of dollars.
Now a pop singer, whose job is to entertain people, is being told she should not entertain people and should refuse to honor the anthem and the flag with her talents because these topics are too important. Of course, whatever Kaepernick thought he was protesting, there was not an electron of a chance that it would accomplish anything positive , particularity since what he was protesting–-you can’t just assume that any police officer is guilty and stop paying him, you moron—was based on bias, racism and ignorance. So why should Gladys withhold her talents from a national sports event that brings Americans of all races and creeds together? Oh, that’s right: because Amy Shumer says so.
This is like a bad Ionesco play.
Ann Althouse’s four reasons that the attacks on Knight are wrong are…
1. Don’t criticize Gladys Knight.
2. Don’t make singing the National Anthem into a bad thing,
3. The question of protesting the National Anthem is separate, and if you want to defend the players who have been protesting, you’re making a big leap if you go from arguing that the protest is respectful, respectable, and permissible to saying that protest is required and anyone not protesting is to be disrespected,
4. Those who are making that big leap are confirming the fears of the kind of people who worry that once something is permitted we’re on a slippery slope to its being required.
Here are mine:
1. Politicizing the performing arts distorts politics and art. Artists are not successful because they are the most informed or intelligent people around, and they shouldn’t have to weigh political controversies to make a living. It was wrong for “the resistance” to bully performers out of singing for America during the Trump inauguration. If they want to use their fame and celebrity to participate in political issues, that’s their choice. I have defended the right of performers to sell their wares—that is, their performances—to brutal foreign dictators. They certainly have the right to sing the National Anthem for the American public.
2. You are not obligated to endorse my protests and politics. I can explain why you should agree with me, and, for example, not support the NFL’s cynical, greedy and brutal destructiin of young men’s brains to make their billions, but if you prioritize differently, that’s your choice. I reserve the right to argue about it with you, of course, but Knight’s critics aren’t making a case, they are just complaining.
3. I see no difference between saying that Gladys Knight shouldn’t sing for the NFL and arguing that a bar shouldn’t serve a customer in a MAGA hat. It’s cultural poison, and will tear the country apart. It’s half-torn already.
4. Social media bullying is a scourge of the nation, and the only way to defeat it is to condemn the mob, whatever it is demanding, to defy it, and to support the celebrities and others who do. I won’t be watching the CTE Bowl this year, but I will watch Gladys sing the National Anthem.
Finally, here’s what Gladys has said:
I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight . “It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3, to give the anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life.”